Dimming Sunshine

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Executive power issues are practically custom-built for hypocrisy and promise-breaking. Thins that look important when someone else is President, especially when that someone else is as loathesome as George W Bush, suddenly look not-so-crucial when the President is you and the executive branch is run by your friends and allies. And Sharon Theimer reports that there’ve been plenty of disappointments in the Obama Era:

Federal agencies haven’t lived up to President Barack Obama’s promise of a more open government, increasing their use of legal exemptions to keep records secret during his first year in office.

An Associated Press review of Freedom of Information Act reports filed by 17 major agencies found that the use of nearly every one of the law’s nine exemptions to withhold information from the public rose in fiscal year 2009, which ended last October.

To be fair, some of FY 2009 happened before Obama was inaugurated, so to get a totally fair comparison we’ll need to wait for the FY 2010 data. Meanwhile, Obama is threatening to veto an intelligence authorization bill over two oversight-related issues. One is that they don’t like “a provision that would force the administration to widen the circle of lawmakers who are informed about covert operations and other sensitive activities.” In other words, they want to keep congressional oversight of covert ops toothless. The other issue has to do with an investigation of the investigation into the anthrax attacks. I’m not at all familiar with this issue, but Marcy Wheeler has a brief explanation of it.